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No wildlife sightings including Roe Deer, Fox, Hare or Badger will be mentioned on this blog throughout the year due to the rising influx of poaching, long dogging and lamping by sick individuals.

Any sighting of birds of a sensitive nature throughout the breeding season will be omitted from the blog if I believe that in any way it could jeopardize the welfare or breeding of the species .
Sightings in this category will just be passed on to the Calderdale bird recorder.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Back to a very snowy Ogden.

        An unusual sighting for Ogden, 2 Lapwing.
                                         A much busier water today.
                                                40 % frozen.

                                                              Duck corner.

With heavy blizzarding snow showers and the roads getting bad I headed across to the nearest venue, this being Ogden.The sun shone brightly as I arrived so with that and the brightness of the snow it was hard to get correctly exposed shots without over exposing. Fortunately this was short lived and it was soon back to darker skies and snow.
                                                              The first birds seen on the ice were 2 Lapwings, a mega rare bird for the reservoir but they soon left towards Soil Hill. Plenty Common and Black Headed gulls on the water along with a single Lesser Black Backed but no Herring.
The 2 Moorhen were in the picnic area but soon scurried under the Rhododendrons and out of sight whilst 28 Canada geese were out on the water.
                                                              By now the snow was piling down so it was time to get out of there and head for home which was easier said than done. I,d parked near the inaccessible car park but with no chance of turning round on the ice I had to reverse the full length of Ogden Lane and out into the main road. With snow blowing over the walls the road near Keelham was almost blocked as well as over Foxhill but I arrived home ok after the last birding session of February.
                                                             It looks like it could be some time before Fly Flatts is accessible again but after 14 visits during February I feel I,ve given it a good coat of looking at and as soon as this snow melts I,ll be back up there again.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


                                            2 Canada geese over >W
  Several Black Headed gulls in various stages
                         of plumage change.

                                              Iced up.
                                            Passerine Alley

                                       25 % frozen

 I dont like tame bird photography on feeders but make
                an exception for Nuthatch.
   The elusive Ogden Moorhen now has a mate.

                                       so has the Nuthatch.

With Fly Flatts snow bound and heavy snow showers I slung the Canon MK1 round my neck with the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 L lens and a 2x convertor in my pocket and headed for Ogden.
                                                            It was bright and spring like in between the snow showers which did,nt amount to much and if it does,nt get worse than this its more like The Wimp from the West rather than the Beast from the East.
                                                                Birding was poor with not enough birds and too many people wanting to talk. Today was like a Billy No Mates meeting place with everyone wanting to stop and talk whilst I wanted to get on birding.
                                                           The water, which was 25 % frozen, held around 75 small gulls, the majority being Black Headeds with a few Commons whilst 2 Moorhen were present which was a nice surprise.  The sluice gate area held 1 Robin and 1 Grey Wagtail whilst a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over the info centre along with 2 Canada Geese.
                                                           All other activity was around the info centre feeders with the usual species plus 2 Nuthatch. A quiet but pleasant hour with the dogs enjoying it and it giving me chance to put the new lens through its paces .

Monday, February 26, 2018

The unpredictable days of birding. Leeshaw.

                                       Kestrel ignoring the cold wind
                                               Very few big gulls today
                                  Plenty Oystercatchers in the fields
                       Yes, I know the one on the right is a hen
                                                Few Common gulls present.

                                 Good Starling flocks in the sky
                                           and in the fields

What a strange and unpredictable game this birding is. After yesterdays bonanza birding day I headed back to Leeshaw late afternoon , same time, same weather conditions ,though a little colder with light snow showers, only to find it very quiet with all the 400 + geese nowhere to be found and no sign of the 150 + Golden Plover flock.
                                                 The Lapwings were still present but spread around the fields along with the ,now 21, Oystercatchers but all were busy feeding and very quiet .  The migrant Starlings were mobile moving around the fields but the water was near void of bird life with just a few Mallard and a single Cormorant.  Gull wise there were only 4 LBBs, 3 Herrings and a few Commons and BHGs. The large manured field which was heaving yesterday was today empty, strange.
                                                    Looks like the white stuff is on its way tomorrow which could put the brakes on the spring arrivals for a few days.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Leeshaw Reservoir, buzzing.

                     Herring gulls on the water
                                             Herring and LBB
                                            Masses of Geese
                                     3 Scraggy looking Herrings

                                         19 Oystercatchers present

                                  Nice flock of Meadow Pipit
                                          Canadas Galore
                                                  Greylags over >N

                                                 Golden Plover


                                            Lapwings over the moor

1445 hrs and a quick check on Lower Laithe reservoir for Whoopers  with no success other than small gulls and Oystercatchers.  Around 30 Golden Plover were in the usual field at Upper Marsh.
                                                           1500 hrs at Leeshaw reservoir on a spring like afternoon despite the biting E>5 but once again the west side being unworkable due to the sun.
                                                            In short of 2 hours watch I think I saw more birds in one go locally than ever before with the sky, the water and the fields alive. The water and banking held over 400 geese whilst skein after skein of Greylags went over >N. Lapwings were in every field along with Starlings, Meadow Pipits and Fieldfare with a massive flock of Golden Plover giving distant aerobatic displays.
Oystercatcher numbers are building fast and a good count of Herring gulls, none of them making me look twice for Caspian gull with a completely different flight pattern and jizz to the Fly Flatts bird without even starting to go into description.
A really memorable birding session, if only I coould get this lot over to Fly Flatts.

215 Canada geese
193 Greylag geese + at least 100 over >N
19 Oystercatcher
c 40 Meadow Pipit
c 60 Fieldfare
c200 Lapwing
4 Curlew
9 Herring gull
3 LBB gull
c 100 small gull
c 150 Golden Plover
1 Cormorant
c 150 Starling
1 Kestrel
+ usual sp.

Checking for the Whoopers

                                        " Oystercatchers on the east shore

                                                Heading for Cold Edge
                      Hardy boatman cutting up the old jetty

0700 hrs and sub zero conditions at Fly Flatts minus 1 deg with an icy E>4 with full cloud cover.
                                                                      26 of the Canadas had returned along with 2 Oystercatchers working their way along the east shore before heading off for Cold Edge.
A female Merlin zipped over the low moor then dropped down towards Dean Head putting up several Red Grouse on its way.
                                     I was expecting a blast off of Geese and Swans this morning in front of the approaching weather but nothing happened. No Whoopers on Mixenden or Cold Edge then as I was on my way to the last stop of Ogden a grapevine message reported 10 Whoopers on Ogden at 0800 hrs but these birds had flow by the time I got there at 1000 hrs.
                                      No time to check the Goldie fields at Nolstar as I was going full steam ahead for Ogden.